Hurt for the Holidays

Managing the major grief of those who have major loss
By: Dwight Bain
Holidays are not always happy days, especially if you have experienced major loss. Think about it – if you lost a job or a house through foreclosure can you still have a Merry Christmas this year? Some people can manage the loss of material things because they rely on their savings, or extended family for support. But what about those who don’t have access to those resources – what do they do?
What about the wife of a man who cheats and leaves the marriage with another woman before the holiday. What do you say to someone who won’t have a happy family memory on December 25th, because she will be sharing her children with a new woman and her relatives while she sits in the marital home (which is missing half the furniture) alone.
Or think about the family who have to say goodbye to a beloved family pet because of age or illness. How can they celebrate a happy holiday without a trusted animal companion?  
Think about the mom and dad who lost a child this year to death. Is there any comfort for those who have lost a son or daughter? Is it any easier for those who had to bury their parents or a marriage partner?
Don’t forget those who experienced these type of major losses a year ago are coming up on the one year anniversary of feeling these devastating losses all over again. The anniversary of a traumatic time is almost as intense as when it first happened.
Is there any hope for a person to manage all of this major loss? I believe there is.
Loss is a part of life, but that doesn’t make the hurt any better. We all know that nothing is forever, but want the painful reality to stop for a few weeks every year over a cultural holiday tradition to create a break in the pressure. This isn’t harmful, in fact it’s common because not everyone is going to a funeral before Christmas, or waiting to be evicted from the home they have lived in for decades.
Many people don’t realize how hard it is on others because they are too busy celebrating having all their family together, eating great food and sharing wonderful gifts and experiences.
Maybe that’s what makes it so hard on others – that their neighbors are so happy, because when your life is crushed it is hard to celebrate with others who weren’t flattened by the tidal wave of grief that comes after a major loss.
Should some people stop celebrating because others are having a terrible time? Should you tone down your family having a good time so it doesn’t hurt others?
No, but everyone should remember the spiritual principle to “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice”.
If you have friends or family who are struggling, be there for them. Encourage them, help them financially if you can – and the best way to do that is to invite them over to share the holiday experience together. Take action to push them past their false pride by challenging them to be part of your community. Taking away the loneliness is a wonderful gift to someone hurting and afraid. Giving another family joy at Christmas will bring you more value than anything you could buy at the mall.
This spiritual value of kindness is a powerful tool to help others manage their painful losses and it comes right out of the teaching of the Bible. Listen to these comforting words from Psalm 34.

4) I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.
6) This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.
7) The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.
15) The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.
17) The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18) The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
19) Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Do you see the pattern?
In desperation call out to God, trust that God will never abandon you and wait on God. This process won’t get your job or house back, but it will give you peace inside. A deep spiritual peace that will give you the strength to press on through the toughest of times. And isn’t that what the angels sang about that first Christmas…. “Peace on Earth, Good will toward mankind.”
God promises peace, so if you or someone you love is shattered by grief this holiday season start with God and stay with God. I believe He will see you through the tough times of loss and pain to give you hope and peace. You can sing the songs of Christmas again with real joy – if you press on in your spiritual journey and share what you learned with others.
Press on friend. Press on.
About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

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